PDA

View Full Version : Cleaning my guns is making me sick:


Wicked Pete
06-03-2010, 9:39 AM
I use Gun Cleaning (Hoppe's) Solvent, Break Free, Gun Scrubber, Autozone Brake Cleaner and any assorted chemicals for cleaning rifles and handguns. Seems like the cheaper ammo leaves more residue.

My "shop" is a small room with (one door) no ventilation. When using the sprays, I take it outside and clean. After this I put them on the shelf, but I can smell the stuff in the shop.

Brake Cleaner (cheaper) gets out ALL the black gunk. Then, I spay it with a little Break Free. Works great.

I noticed after a shooting session/cleaning, I feel really crappy. Tired and sick, like the flu. Anyone else have this?

If you read the Can(s), they state: Use only in a WELL VENTILATED area. I hear Acetone is carcinogetic (sic) and causes nerve damage. What?

I tried Ballistol (spray) but it really doesn't do the job. I wanted to put this out so others may gain from my (bad) experience and tell us what you use.

Any alternatives that are not toxic? Besides: Black Powder shooting: Soapy water is not toxic!

WhatsTCP
06-03-2010, 9:50 AM
tired? that just means you clean them too much :D hoppes solvent always seems to ruin my appetite and give me a slight headache. I try to clean them outside but get scared the neighbors might see me. CLP doesn't affect me as much though

GP3
06-03-2010, 9:54 AM
Interesting about the nerve damage. I've been practicing unsafe cleaning then. My house reaks for a day or two after.

Lancear15
06-03-2010, 9:54 AM
CLP doesn't affect me as much though

+1

I use tons of CLP and never have any issues.

littlejake
06-03-2010, 9:57 AM
Solvents containing nitrobenzene are carcinogenic and toxic. Hoppes #9 contains nitrobenzene. Nitrobenzene is also absorbed through the skin. After decades of using Hoppes #9, I have stopped using all solvents that contain nitrobenzene.

I like MPro7, especially their bore gel. Breakfree CLP can also be used to clean and lubricate.

The use of aerosols is more recent. People cleaned their guns for years without aerosols. Just because aerosols seem to get more crud out, doesn't make them better.

I dislike the use of automotive products for cleaning guns. Brake cleaner is tetrafluroethane or difluoroethane. It tends to displace oxygen from confined spaces. It can kill you. Never use a chlorinated hydrocarbon like Gumout -- the chlorine can destroy steel.

If you shoot at an indoor range, make sure it is well ventilated and the air is filtered. Exposure to lead at indoor ranges can be a problem for frequent shooters on "dirty" ranges. I once had a plasma lead level that was 4 times higher than the occupational limit for lead -- all from an indoor range. That lead never really goes away, it is absorbed into the bone matrix.

(pregnant women and children should never be exposed to the air at any indoor range.)

You might have your doc pull a blood sample for lead.

Wicked Pete
06-03-2010, 10:06 AM
Wow, never thought of breathing in the lead; you are so right. I go to an outdoor range, but on a windy day, the dust caused an allergic reaction. I'd bet after years and years of shooters, the dust must be full of bad things. eh?

Fjold
06-03-2010, 10:09 AM
Wear latex glvoes when cleaning guns and do it outside where you do the spraying. An enclosed back yard on the patio is best.

littlejake
06-03-2010, 10:13 AM
Lead comes from two sources at indoor ranges. Lead dust particulate, especially kicked up from the traps. And the ejected gas from guns contains lead from the priming compound.

Someguy925
06-03-2010, 10:27 AM
I noticed after a shooting session/cleaning, I feel really crappy. Tired and sick, like the flu. Anyone else have this?

I never had this before. You ever go in for a check up? I would probably do that normally to make sure your blood are within normal ranges.

I also started using latex gloves as well. You can buy them by the bulk and they protect your skin and hands.

Milsurp Collector
06-03-2010, 10:41 AM
Any alternatives that are not toxic? Besides: Black Powder shooting: Soapy water is not toxic!

I use this stuff as my main cleaner, along with Break-Free CLP. The manufacturer says that it is "non-toxic and bio-degradable". It has a slight ammonia smell that doesn't bother me at all. My wife has an extremely sensitive nose and she doesn't like it, but she doesn't like the smell of any of my gun care products.

http://bluewonder.us/images/Img87.jpg

cxHhg1sODBg&rel=0

I use Blue Wonder to do most of the cleaning (using the Otis system http://www.otisgun.com/), but it leaves the metal bare and it has no rust-prevention capability, so I follow Blue Wonder with a few patches soaked with Break-Free CLP. I use Eezox on the outside.

http://bluewonder.us/BlueWonderGunCleaner.html

VictorFranko
06-03-2010, 10:42 AM
Small room, no ventilation & cleaning solvents, possibly using more than one solvent at a time.
Seems obvious what the problem is.
Wear the gloves to avoid absorption and try putting a small room fan at the door drawing the fumes out.
Don't try to push the fumes out as the fumes may only circulate, draw the fumes out.
I work with solvents and really strong acids and this seems to work the best.

caldude
06-03-2010, 11:27 AM
I use Prolix as my main cleaner - it's relatively safe (no harmful chemicals), smells good, and cleans and protects decently.

http://www.prolixlubricant.com/index.html

jmzhwells
06-03-2010, 11:41 AM
Whatever happened to a good nylon brush to get the crud off followed by a wipe of your favorite lube. How clean do guns really need to be. I usually brush off the crud, wipe with clp to make sure I got it all, and then a little more clp to lube her up. Has worked for years.

Spiggy
06-03-2010, 11:51 AM
I really don't clean out my gun unless it's sticking or goopy with cosmo...

And I do it outside, It's a lot more fun to clean in the backyard with a bunch of friends and your favorite cold beverage anyways.

stitchnicklas
06-03-2010, 12:16 PM
CLP and M pro 7 ..+1,i use it for 1-2hrs and have 0 problems,try latex/nitrilte type gloves

HskrVern
06-03-2010, 12:25 PM
I wear nitrile golves and a 3m half mask respirator with p100 filters. I clean in a small room (ok a closet, don't laugh) and if I don't use the right PPE I am either high or vomiting.

gunboat
06-03-2010, 12:31 PM
I think you all need a new hobby, like knitting --

Robidouxs
06-03-2010, 12:38 PM
Use M Pro 7. I use it all the time for cleaning my guns, I even have all my windows closed (don't need people to hear or see me cleaning guns on the sidewalk). I have never ever had a problem with M Pro 7, I don't even use gloves! (This was after reading the MSDS for the M-Pro 7). Sure it costs more but it is well worth the expense.

Tanner68
06-03-2010, 12:50 PM
Definitely enhance the ventilation in the little room.
I like nitrile gloves better than latex for protection from most gun solvents.
And don't try using Kroil in that little room. If you were wondering if the fumes were getting to you, you will wonder no more.

Dolk
06-03-2010, 2:01 PM
I wish this thread started 4 weeks ago. Not that i would have read and followed the advise.

Three weeks ago I had a slight lung infection and I also have a little Asthma. Not bad enought to really know I was having a problem. But I went into the garage (large garage) and opened a 1 gallon paint can of Acetone to clean some parts for an hour and the next day.....three days in the hospital. I'm still taking an inhailer 4 time a day. So be careful! Doc say about 6 to 8 weeks and things will start looking better. and he said to "stay way away from that Acetone!

Sure cleans nice! LOL

dolk

hawkeye
06-03-2010, 2:17 PM
WHENEVER you clean guns, make sure the area is well ventilated. Even if your not using sprays, chances are smelling that Hoppes 9, when your getting up close and personal while cleaning your gun is not good for you.

Try to set up a table in a private area outside, or do it in your house with all the windows open.

I know what you mean by feeling sick after cleaning.

mattmcg
06-03-2010, 2:31 PM
So I also clean my guns in an enclosed space (the garage) so had changed around my cleaning routine to accommodate the area. Old style solvents, while being effective, have been surpassed by healthier and cleaner alternatives. Not to mention, force you to exert less effort.

When cleaning, you are needing to remove copper, lead, and carbon. I simply found semi-green alternatives that did not off-gas and then tested and optimized to improve my cleaning regiment to not give up on cleaning effectiveness.

Step 1: Gunslick Foaming Bore Cleaner. While not necessarily a green alternative, this foam eats away copper quickly and breaks away carbon deep into the rifling. I setup my pistol/rifle/shotgun in a rack, spray foam down the barrel from the breech end, and leave it sitting there for a few hours. Every once in a while, I blow some extra down to refresh the foam. You will see lots of blue color if you have copper build up as well as carbon freeing from the barrel.

Step 2: I use an Otis Cable cleaning system instead of a push rod. Takes up less space, removes rod drag damage, and packs up into a small package which can also be portable. 8" cables for pistols, 36" for rifles, and a 24" cable for occasional shotgun use. Pulling a cotton patch sized for the specific bore I'm cleaning is a much better way of removing the gunk that the foam has removed. It is surprising to me how much work the foam does for me. This step alone has cut my cleaning time in half (of course only accounting for my attentive time, the dwell time not included). I remove all the foam with a dry patch and proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: I then use M-Pro 7 solvent which is a non odorous and non toxic bore cleaner. It is essentially a non-water based soap solvent and is great at attacking carbon. I use the Otis cable and pull through cotton patches until they come out close to white. From there I pull a bronze brush through once and then follow up with more cotton patches until white. I then remove all the M-Pro 7 with a final dry cotton swab.

Step 4: Douse a cotton patch with WeaponShield CLP and pull it through. I will let this sit for about 10 minutes while I do something else then come back and swab it out with another cotton patch.

From there I wipe down everything else with a rag and WeaponShield CLP and put it back in the safe! Done!

None of these products puts off a noxious chemical and all can be handled with ease without the use of latex gloves. The garage is left with the sweet cinammon smell of the WeaponShield CLP and the overall experience is quick, complete, and will maintain my arms well thereafter.

BTW, all of the above products can be ordered from MidwayUSA.com. Hopefully this advice helps. I was in your shoes at one time and knew there was a better way. I'm happy with where things ended up.

smle-man
06-03-2010, 3:24 PM
I guess I'm a dead man walking; I've been using Hoppes 9 since 1971 and old GI GI bore cleaner about as long. I need to start wearing gloves when cleaning firearms although the damage is probably already done.

odysseus
06-03-2010, 3:28 PM
Right - not latex, but Nirtile gloves that resist solvents. Just use gloves, and have good ventilation. Most people should be fine. I normally just use Hoppes 9 and CLP for a lot of work. I will step up only once in a great while with a stronger copper solvent.

I don't use break cleaner. I tried that once, and found it too strong and unnecessary. Actually I hate using that stuff on the cars and use it sparingly.

prob
06-03-2010, 5:30 PM
Why do you think the directions say the product is to be used in a well ventilated area? What did you expect?

By the way, don't worry too much about acetone. Despite it's reputation as a strong solvent it is remarkably forgiving in terms of long term effects on health.

mievil
06-03-2010, 8:22 PM
I stopped using the aerosol CLP because it was giving me a terrible sore throat and actually caused white spots on my tonsils. That was the only change in my range routine and I have no problems now just using dipping or dabbing products.

Divernhunter
06-03-2010, 9:02 PM
Wipe-out and Blue Wonder will solve your problems and do a better job at the same time.

mattmcg
06-03-2010, 9:05 PM
Wipe-Out Foam cleaner certainly does the job but isn't the most friendly in your skin if you choose to go without latex gloves. I much prefer Gunslick as it is a tad less aggressive but given additional dwell time, is equally effective.

Scratch705
06-03-2010, 9:19 PM
this is why i clean out in the backyard. well ventilated means well ventilated, not a single window or single doorway.

not much in terms of chemical cleaners that won't negatively affect you. even when odorless, it does not mean it won't do damage.

knucklehead0202
06-03-2010, 10:08 PM
I think you all need a new hobby, like knitting --

+1 to that. we've looked at making Hoppe's #9 aftershave among other things. i've used it all my life without any adverse effects. except for that, that, that, st st st stutter now and then. seriously though, is this the martha stewart gun care clinic? i'm almost certain there's aprons involved in some of this. deeply saddening....

eville
06-03-2010, 10:12 PM
I wear nitrile golves and a 3m half mask respirator with p100 filters. I clean in a small room (ok a closet, don't laugh) and if I don't use the right PPE I am either high or vomiting.

Those P100's are doing nothing for your exposure to the chemical solvent. They are only protecting you from dust.

Pyrodyne
06-04-2010, 12:46 AM
+1 to that. we've looked at making Hoppe's #9 aftershave among other things. i've used it all my life without any adverse effects. except for that, that, that, st st st stutter now and then. seriously though, is this the martha stewart gun care clinic? i'm almost certain there's aprons involved in some of this. deeply saddening....

Solvents are no joke. Get a $10 walmart fan, open a window, jam the fan in it and turn it on. Get another and have it provide you with fresh air. Paper filters do nothing for chemicals. If you're that concerned and have poor breath control, get better equipment.

:43:

Ensure that the exhaust fan gets plenty of Hoppe's #9 as it is a good anti repellent. Put some in a spray bottle and put a few squirts through the fan. Spray your perimeter as well. You don't want the antis to invade your home. You can also spray them directly if they look like they're building a nest or starting to form lines of ingress.

HskrVern
06-04-2010, 7:52 AM
Those P100's are doing nothing for your exposure to the chemical solvent. They are only protecting you from dust.

Really? Its what my work has us using for spraying poly. Do I need to raise the BS flag on them?

ejor
06-04-2010, 10:19 PM
It might be the tri-chloralethlene in the gun scrubber, strong stuff, use it outside and let it dry completely before bringing it inside , it drys quickly

Ed_in_Sac
06-04-2010, 10:24 PM
I stopped using Hoppe's and rarely use Shooter's Choice for a solvent....just don't need them all that much. Have noticed that either can make my stomach queasy. IT helps to wear surgical gloves and use only a small amount of solvent. btw, I always flush cleaning patches with oil or solvent down the toilet rather than into the garbage basket.

Tho_Sun
06-04-2010, 10:26 PM
Flu like symptoms with fatigue might be an indication of a chemical induced anemia, Aplexic Anemia i think it was. Are you anemic? A clear sign of this is if you have a wound and it doesn't properly heal or has a extended healing time. I would highly suggest using proper protection when dealing with chemicals. Some people are extra sensitive to this. Protect yourself properly and work in a well ventilated area and you shouldn't feel like that anymore. I'm not a doctor, this is just a suggestion from a nursing student.

P.S. Surgical gloves are easily eaten through by cleaning chemicals, I would highly suggest something more along the lines of chemical resistant mechanic gloves, a bit more but you can reuse then time to time and a box has like 50 pairs.

SVT-40
06-05-2010, 1:25 AM
Brake cleaner can combine with other solvents and decompose to harmful or fatal corrosive gases such as hydrogen chloride and possibly phosgene. These gasses are harmful in extremely small doses. Never use brake cleaner in combination with any other chemicals and always use them outside or in a super ventilated area.

Brake cleaner and welding is especially dangerous. Check this link.

http://www.brewracingframes.com/id75.htm

Scratch705
06-05-2010, 1:37 AM
I stopped using Hoppe's and rarely use Shooter's Choice for a solvent....just don't need them all that much. Have noticed that either can make my stomach queasy. IT helps to wear surgical gloves and use only a small amount of solvent. btw, I always flush cleaning patches with oil or solvent down the toilet rather than into the garbage basket.

flushing them is only bringing the chemicals into the ocean as waste water isn't filtered as intensely before being dumped into ocean.

Ed_in_Sac
06-05-2010, 6:36 AM
I knew someone would say that. Putting them in a garbage can pollutes the dump, too. Point is not to have them around smelling up the place. Its not like our recycling has a can for Hoppe's. Or that I use more than a jar every 5-10 years or so.

gotime
06-05-2010, 6:57 AM
Guns don't kill people... Cleaning them does. :eek:

Pryde
06-05-2010, 8:43 AM
CLP is a toxic substance that can be absorbed through the skin and can cause long term liver damage. Try not to breathe it in and keep the stuff off of your skin.

ROTC sniper
06-05-2010, 11:32 AM
Just clean everything outside on the front porch so everyone can see you and your guns...it's a good deterrent to having folks walk up to your front door and sell you something :D

mievil
06-05-2010, 9:40 PM
I knew someone would say that. Putting them in a garbage can pollutes the dump, too. Point is not to have them around smelling up the place. Its not like our recycling has a can for Hoppe's. Or that I use more than a jar every 5-10 years or so.

That's why they have hazmat collection at most city dumps. But you need to take it in, just like you would your old batteries, electronic gear, and stuff like broken fluorescent bulbs.

Mac
06-05-2010, 11:32 PM
I used to use Hoppes #9 back in the Day. Then I was banned to the Garage Wife and Kids pitching fits. Now I use the Simple Green. and Break Free. Wife does not mind it and it works good on Rifle Bores. then oil with Break Free/CLP. In the house - no problemo.

Ed_in_Sac
06-06-2010, 5:13 AM
That's why they have hazmat collection at most city dumps. But you need to take it in, just like you would your old batteries, electronic gear, and stuff like broken fluorescent bulbs.

Right, BP is dumping millions of gallons of crude into the gulf and you are worried about a few 2" square patches soaked with solvent a month. I know you intend to be pc and all that, but really lets be practical. For such a small amount, the risks of storage and cost of pollution in driving to the dump are, IMO, far worse. There are no street corner hazmat collection sites and I know of city dumps that won't collect electronic gear, fluorescent tubes, or batteries (recyclers will).

And if you think it out, what should a person do if they get solvent on their hands or clothes, recycle them at the dump. No, there gonna wash them in the same water.

ScottB
06-06-2010, 12:40 PM
Ideally, cleaning waste should be treated as household hazardous waste and taken to a neighborhood collection site (free). Somethings like motor oil, old paint, household chemicals - and gun cleaning waste, need to be kept out of the sewer and the regular landfills.

BTW, I love Blue Wonder. It cleans well and if you ever find any rust, that stuff and a little light rubbing with 000 steel wool will pull it off without further damaging the finish.

I just wish it wasn't so hard to find.

SVT_Fox
06-06-2010, 12:54 PM
you are feeling the symptoms of a mild fume poisoning, you need to do them all outside, since your "jail cell" like room is harming your health at this point. clean the guns completely, oil them as you please, and still let them dry a bit more outside, the fumes of the solvents and brake cleaners will eventually all evap, but the oil wont, it actually needs like months to evap, anyway, stop huffing fumes! say no to drugs!

Wicked Pete
06-06-2010, 1:26 PM
Hey THANKS everyone: I know you care, I'm not sick anymore! This is an excellent thread, good information.

Milsurp Collector
06-06-2010, 6:09 PM
BTW, I love Blue Wonder. It cleans well and if you ever find any rust, that stuff and a little light rubbing with 000 steel wool will pull it off without further damaging the finish.

I just wish it wasn't so hard to find.

I just get it online from the manufacturer http://shop.bluewonder.us/

They have a buy 3 get 1 free offer.

mswanson223
06-06-2010, 6:19 PM
maybe you should put a fan where you work and open a window

eville
06-06-2010, 6:50 PM
Really? Its what my work has us using for spraying poly. Do I need to raise the BS flag on them?

Here's a chart.

What kind of poly are you using? Primer/paint, foam or ?

http://www.respiratormaskprotection.com/Respirator-Cartridge-Filter-Reference-Chart.html

ScottB
06-06-2010, 8:12 PM
I just get it online from the manufacturer http://shop.bluewonder.us/

They have a buy 3 get 1 free offer.

Thanks! Just in time too - I'm about out

delisle
06-06-2010, 9:40 PM
Anytime use just about anything in an aerosol I am outdoors. There isnt much in any aerosol you want to breathe in.

I limit use of chemicals and use my EBC more often to do the dirty work for me.

joedogboy
06-06-2010, 11:10 PM
I really don't clean out my gun unless it's sticking or goopy with cosmo...

And I do it outside, It's a lot more fun to clean in the backyard with a bunch of friends and your favorite cold beverage anyways.

Good scenario Spiggy.

+ Well ventilated area.
+ Friends to make the time pass quicker and the task less of a chore (as well as to help you if there are any problems).
+ Beverages because you may be dehydrated if you've been out shooting on a warm day.

Other things to do if you are having an adverse reaction (or if your wife is pregnant, or you have an infant in the house):
Wear your eye protection when using chemical fluids, and use an apron/shop coat or wear clothing that you don't care as much for. Don't forget to wash up with cool water and soap after shooting and cleaning. Warm/hot water will make it easier for the chemicals and lead particles to be absorbed into your skin. Your cleaning clothing (or range clothing, if you fire at a "dirty" range) should be washed separately from your regular clothing (hand washing in a utility sink may be the best option).

OP's scenario was bad.

- Small room with no vents.
- Mixing toxic solvents.

ChaparralCommando
06-06-2010, 11:45 PM
Solvents containing nitrobenzene are carcinogenic and toxic. Hoppes #9 contains nitrobenzene. Nitrobenzene is also absorbed through the skin. After decades of using Hoppes #9, I have stopped using all solvents that contain nitrobenzene.


Hmm, nitrobenzene is not listed as an ingredient in the #9 MSDS. What is your source on this?
http://www.hoppes.com/msds/904_MSDS.pdf

tacticalcity
06-06-2010, 11:48 PM
Switch products. I do not use that spray stuff. I use Cleanzoil, a rag, a toothbrush, and a boresnake. That's it.

thmpr
06-07-2010, 12:27 AM
use wipeout...

Mug
06-07-2010, 2:17 AM
I love the smell of Hoppes #9 in the morning!

I too have to clean indoors but I do have a ceiling fan and large window (4'x6'). It's not unusual for me to have Hoppes #9, WD-40, Nevr Dull and ATF+4 fumes (plus various gun oils, if they let off any odor) all going at the same time.

spencerhut
06-07-2010, 7:08 AM
My wife and I take turns cleaning guns and she can't stand Hoppes #9. So in the hunt for non toxic cleaner we found the Hoppes Elite line (M-Pro7 in a different package) and have been very pleased. No fumes at all. My cleaning bushes are now clean rather than black and nasty all the time. Almost no smell, does not bother my hands at all. Cleans up super easy. The Elite line contains several products, bore gels etc. I've found them all to work well.

SLIP2000 is also non toxic, we use than in the cleaning tank, but only when a gun is super nasty does it get sent to the tank. Total tear down = PITA

Simple Green should not be overlooked. Just because it's not made for guns does not mean it does not cut oil and grease well, and it's super cheap.

The only toxic stuff we have left is specifically for lead removal and it does not get used very often. If I could ever figure out how to properly make lead bullets so they did not smear lead all inside my gun barrels I could get rid of the last toxic stuff.

E-120
06-07-2010, 1:02 PM
In door ranges make me feel ill.

knucklehead0202
06-07-2010, 8:40 PM
good lord, i can't read this anymore. if anyone from outside of california read this crap they'd be rolling on the floor. there's probably some doing it right now. i wonder if my Hoppe's fumes are killing baby seals in antarctica right now...

gunboat
06-07-2010, 11:00 PM
Knucklehead -- +1 -- it is unbeliveable non-sense -- looks like a thread from the henny-penny society --